Want To Save Money On Fertility Treatments? Go Straight To In Vitro

Fertility treatment is crazy expensive and there are no guarantees, but a recent NIH-sponsored study “concluded that women who were fast-tracked to IVF [in vitro fertilization] got pregnant three months faster on average, and spent $10,000 less than those who went through the usual preliminaries.” The conclusion: it may not be wise for insurers to require women to run the gauntlet of other treatments before trying IVF.

IVF is usually the third stage of the process, after the woman first tries clomiphene pills to help trigger ovulation, which costs about $500, then tries hormone shots, which costs about $3,000. Over the course of the treatment, skipping hormone shots and going straight to IVF averaged out to about $61,000, versus $71,000 to do it the traditional 3-stage way.

Getting pregnant three months sooner is actually a big deal, says the article, for patients who are nearing the end of their “fertile years.” It also reduced the amount of time the patients went through psychological trauma—”Fast-tracking can mean fewer episodes of dashed hopes. That could lead to less depression, anxiety, and stress, which hurts marriages and, some claim, may lower one’s chances of conceiving.”

“Skipping Baby Steps” [Slate]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. trollkiller says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all of these infertile couples adopted a child instead of spending all that money to have one of their own?

  2. Parting says:

    @trollkiller: agree

  3. Buran says:

    @trollkiller: Wouldn’t it be nice if there was realization that adoption isn’t for everyone?

  4. DCvision says:

    @Buran…. right on…

  5. jrwn says:

    My wife and I have been married for 6 years, we are not able to have children. We have entered the forster program in our state about a year ago and have been cleared to have 3 children, we even have signed up for emergency placement. We have had one little girl placed with us. The state has not given us anyone else, even though they advertise on the TV they need foster parents.
    How much would you spend to have a child, would be the question I would ask you.

  6. Atomike says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if people realized that In Vitro fertilization resulted in many fertilized eggs that are later destroyed? Do you know FOR CERTAIN exactly when life begins? Unless you’re infallible, you must admit that it’s at least possible that people (however small) are being killed here. Just something to think about.

    If you’re a hunter, and you see something move that may or may not be a deer, is it moral to shoot? Well, this may likely be a person, so please don’t shoot. Modern convenience is not worth the possibility of multiple murders.

  7. trollkiller says:

    Why not? If the parent to be is unable to love any child what makes you think they would be capable of loving their own child when that child was a product of science instead of “love”?

  8. TechnoDestructo says:

    In the long run, forcing people to run that gauntlet and waste that money might save the insurance industry money.

    Why? Because that way you are creating selective pressure for fertility. Someone who can get pregnant on fertility drugs without IVF will still get pregnant…people who are MORE infertile might give up, meaning their barren genes don’t get passed down to waste more insurance company money.

    Also, if it also increases out-of-pocket expenses for the patient, so much the better. Even if they DO get pregnant, that’s money the family can’t use to better the lives of their children and ensure their reproductive success…particularly if they end up being infertile themselves.

    See, eventually it works out alright for the insurance industry.

  9. mysticone says:


    Wanting to have a child isn’t the same as wanting to have *any* child. Most people who want children want their own, a combination of their genes, someone to carry on their family line. While adoption is a welcome option for some, it doesn’t work for everyone.

  10. trollkiller says:

    @mysticone: I submit that if someone’s largest concerns about wanting a child is someone to carry on the family line then they are selfish.

    Selfishness and parenting do not mix.

    The child’s DNA origins don’t matter unless you are breeding for spare parts or you want to make sure you have a “pure” [insert race here] baby.

  11. mysticone says:


    I disagree. But, I guess we’re all entitled to our own opinions and our own choices when it comes to reproduction.

  12. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    @Buran: @trollkiller:

    Wouldn’t it be great if people just kept their opinions about how other people choose to live their lives to themselves?

  13. trollkiller says:

    This is the interwebs, your logic does not work here.

  14. MissCellania says:

    Everyone who makes this decision has to think long and hard about what’s right for them and what they can live with without regrets. My fertility doc fast-tracked me to IVF because of my diagnosis, but I opted for adoption instead. I went with the odds, and now have two children, whereas IVF can go on and on and still fail. Bonus: it was less expensive, too.

  15. xenth says:

    There is a massive waiting list of white couples wanting to adopt white babies. Few people want to adopt older kids or kids of other races. It happens, just rarely.

  16. trollkiller says:

    @xenth: Sadly you are right.

    One day maybe we will care for the one in front of us instead of just caring for one like us.

  17. BigNutty says:

    Because I was adopted, my view is apparent. And if anyone is curious, I never attempted or ever cared to find out about my biological Mother or Father.

    This fact seems strange to anyone that asks me about it.

  18. trollkiller says:

    I think I know but will ask anyhow. Why do you not care to find out about your bio mother and father?

  19. Charles Duffy says:

    @mysticone: Granted, it’s a personal choice, but that doesn’t stop me (and others here) from believing that you’re making that choice selfishly. It’s not genetics but memetics that are important (to me, at least) — having the opportunity to pass on my values and beliefset. Compared to that, what do genes matter?

    (Also, my wife and I have some genes we’d rather not propagate, making adoption the trivially obvious choice for us).

  20. ljauss says:

    Why is it up to the infertile couples to adopt? If having genetically related children is selfish, then fertile couples could do it to. I mean, why is it selfish for those who have difficulty getting pregnant to want to go through childbirth and not selfish for the average couple? I’m actually starting the adoption process myself right now, but I am not judging those who want to have bio kids – whether it is easy or difficult for them. People should be able to start their family however it makes sense for them, and teach their children to have compassion for others.

    Trollkiller – if you are planning on having kids, I sure hope you put your money where your mouth is. If you aren’t, then please don’t make blanket statements until you’ve walked in another person’s shoes.

  21. Red_Eye says:

    Speaking as the father of a beautiful girl I can say fertility treatments suck. For those of you promoting adoption great idea, unfortunately execution is pure crap.

    See I can go get fertility treated without a psych consult or a social worker deciding if by their current view of the world I am a good father. Am I a good parent, who knows, my parents sucked, were abusive and my mother is still an alcoholic. I had a miserable childhood. On the other hand my 5yr old wants for nothing yet isn’t spoiled and has to earn what she does get. She is also reading at a 3rd grade level halfway through her kindergarten year.

    Jumping straight to in vitro regardless of a study is likely to put an end to quite a few dreams. It is horribly invasive and for a lot of women it is out of the question.

    It also depends on the insurance involved. When my wife and I went through nearly a year of this with drugs and artificial inseminations (none of which worked) we had Kaiser insurance, they paid for it all with the usual co-payment of $10. They would have done the same for in vitro had we gotten that far. Fortunately we took a month off after going to injection class and never needed to worry about it again. My current health insurance (Cigna) pays for NOTHING for infertility outside of correction of ‘medical problems’. So if there was a blockage or whatever sure they would cover it.

    And a lot of you adoption proponents are missing one thing, some women want the experience of a child growing inside them and that should be their choice. My wife and I may adopt a child eventually, because she cant get pregnant again without a 90% risk of death.

  22. Buran says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: That’s the point I was trying to make. Why does he think it’s his business why people don’t adopt? Busybodies like him need to shove it and respect how other people want to live their lives.

  23. rwyuan says:


    As LJAUSS said, if adoption of the optimal solution, should ALL couples (fertile and unfertile) choose it first. Isn’t it just as selfish for a fertile couple to bear their own children than adopt a child in need of parents and a family? Based on your line of logic, could it also be said that a couple who had the economic and emotional means to support more children than they have (DINKS and 1-child families) are selfish for not choosing to adopt (additional) children?

    Additionally, children born of IVF (if you realize how long, difficult, and expensive the process is) are absolutely products of love (as well as science).

    That said, it would be great if all children who needed families could go into families.

  24. ljauss says:

    I totally agree Redeye – well put. Adoption will cost us $22,000 as a minimum, so it isn’t even the less expensive option.

  25. muddgirl says:

    @Atomike: Uh oh, I just scratched a bunch of skin off my arm. There were more cells in that than in an embryo prepped for transfer. Better prosecute me for manslaughter.

    Life begins at conception, but it also begins when I leave leftovers in the fridge too long.

  26. Charles Duffy says:

    @ljauss: If you go private, maybe. Through a state agency, no.

  27. Charles Duffy says:

    @Buran: Heh — valid point, and this is an area where I’d never express my views if it weren’t already an active topic of discussion.

  28. Myron says:

    @trollkiller: Wouldn’t it be nice is some people realized they don’t know what the fuck their talking about.

  29. nidolke says:

    @BigNutty: If I was adopted I don’t think I’d care to find out who my real parents were either. Why do people think it matters so much? They were merely genes, they had no part in raising me, so who cares.

  30. bohemian says:

    Our insurance will pay for any and all fertility treatments. But they won’t pay for psych services, birth control, sterilization, most pain meds and a whole host of other things.

    The insurance provider is through a catholic hospital group, go figure.

  31. corthepirate says:

    @Atomike: I don’t think you quite understand how in-vitro fertilization works. Georgianna Jones, who started the Jones Institute in Norfolk, VA with her husband, pioneered a new method of harvesting eggs.

    When a woman begins ovulation, there are several (usually around 10) eggs competing to be “THE” egg for the month. These extra eggs usually just die off when ovulation begins. Georgianna Jones started the procedure of harvesting all these eggs, not just one egg a month.

    My point is, these eggs would die anyways. So nobody is really “destroying” any life.

  32. mappable says:

    i guess trollkiller wants Americans to import leaded babies from China.

  33. Bill says:

    @corthepirate: While this has been done, my experiences with IVF led me to believe that the standard practice is to fertize many eggs. Women undergoing IVF are given drugs to super-ovulate. Multiple eggs are harvested, fertilized, allowed to develop. Many of the embryos do not develop properly (as would occur in vivo). Depending on factors such as the woman’s age, prior medical history, etc. anywhere from 2-5 embryos are put back in (with the intent that only one implants and develops). Any remaining viable embryos are typically frozen to be saved for a later cycle.

    Note: This is in no way a comment on the moral issues related to this topic.

  34. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @BigNutty: I agree with you Nutty. I am adopted as well and I have no intrest in finding my biological parents. I would like to find my brother and sisters.

    My wife and I have had this talk as well, we were together for 5 years before she got pregnant. It was unexpected because I was told I was sterile while in the Military. We were starting to go thru the process of adoption when she found out. The state immediatly rejected us because we were having a child now. We still wanted to adopt another child, we are planning to reapply to adopt once our baby turns 5. It is such a huge hassle and mess of red tape I understand why so many kids go unadopted. We actually wanted to get a older child since they have a much smaller chance of finding a home.

    I know it is expensive and a lot of BS to go thru the process here in the states but it really pisses me off when people go to a foreign country to adopt. There are thousands of needy American kids who want a home. But its part of the instant gratification entitelment too many people have here.

  35. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Atomike: Dude STFU it’s a cell not a human being. I bet you cry in your pillow after spanking it too huh? You know all the Millions of possible children that you killed….you murderer! Learn about the process before you spout off.

  36. UpsetPanda says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: I don’t really know anything about adoption processes, but it seems very strange to me that it’s faster to adopt foreign children?

  37. sburnap42 says:

    One reason people go to foreign countries to adopt is that if you adopt an infant, you have to worry about the birth mother changing her mind. My wife watched a coworker go through this twice…paying for a woman’s pregnancy in order to adopt at the end only to have the birth mother change her mind. If I understand it right, this can happen up to the child’s first birthday, even after the adoptive parents and infant have bonded. That doesn’t happen with a foreign adoption.

  38. trollkiller says:

    I have 5 kids, 2 are biologically mine.

  39. MarvinMar says:

    My wife and I did Invetro……Eventualy
    Our insurance does not cover anything really. Just the doctor appts w/ $10 copay.
    For the rest, we took a 2nd mortgage.

    We now have 20 month old twins. 1 boy 1 girl.

    First they just gave her fertility meds.
    Next they would take my sperm, wash it to get the best ones, and just insert that in her uterus.
    We did that way like 6 times.

    Then we moved on to IVF.
    We got 5 eggs. Fertalized all of them. 4 developed.
    They put 2 in and froze 2. we got twins 9 months later.

    A few montha ago we started the meds again in prep to have the other 2 inserted.
    But when we got the to office one morning to have them implanted, we found out that they did not make it. 1 did not survive the thaw, and 1 was not deviding.

    They now have changed their procedures and do not freeze eggs untill thay are 4 days old to make sure they are developing normaly before freezing.

    Our doctor was very good about the amount of Meds he put her on.
    You want eggs, but you don’t want 30 poor quality eggs.
    You want like 6-10 good quality eggs.

    Also, your weight has alot to do with it. He was really strict on making us loose weight before he would procede. And it paid off.

    Our friend went through IVF with a different doctor. He never told them to loose wieght, and we harvested a ton of eggs.
    They had 6 IVFs and they all failed. Then they gave up, lost wieght just trying to get fit, and got pregnant naturaly as a result.
    They have a 7 month old little boy now.

    My kids look just like little versions of us, that is awsome and you can’t get that through adoption.
    Adoption is great, and we may have gone there but turs out we did not need to.

    What is sad is all the worthless crap mothers who can pop kids out at a moments notice, and wants nothing to do with them.

    My sister-in-law and her husband would now fit that category.
    They have 3 kids. 10, 8, and 2 1/2

    They were great parents till about 2 years ago. Then they became all self involved and wanted nothing to do with them.
    She is now in police acedemy and does not see them. The husband works double shifts, and my wifes parents are raising them.
    Not because of necessity, but because the parents don’t give a crap about raising their kids.

    It would be nice if Insurance covered our Invetro, but I think we are the better for having to spend hard earned money on them, because we know what it took to have these babies.
    Often you do not appreciate what you did not have to work for.

  40. UpsetPanda says:

    What if you adopt a child who is from another state, or you have never met the child’s biological mother? Is the adoption agency required to tell the birth mother who you are and where you live if they wanted to find you?

  41. trollkiller says:

    @Buran: Why does he think it’s his business why people don’t adopt? Busybodies like him need to shove it and respect how other people want to live their lives.

    Explain to me why the health care insurance I pay into should take MY money to spend on your inability to get knocked up? A portion of that $71,000 comes out of MY pocket.

    Not having the ability to have a child is NOT necessity for health. If you want to spend your OWN money for the treatment, go for it.

    I tolerate how you live your life, IF you do it with your own money.

    For the record insurance should not pay for ED treatments, face lifts, boob jobs or any other elective treatment either.

  42. trollkiller says:

    @Myron: When you are spending YOUR money you can have the high horse, when you are spending MY money the horse belongs to me.

  43. trollkiller says:

    @mappable: i guess trollkiller wants Americans to import leaded babies from China.

    Only if they come with free Aqua Dots.

  44. edwardso says:

    @muddgirl: Excellent!

  45. trollkiller says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: You only have to worry about that in an “open” adoption. Most of the time the records are sealed.

  46. Red_Eye says:

    @MarvinMar: I agree with the worthless part, some relatives I have who shall remain nameless think just because they can create live they should even if it means everyone else on gods green earth has to pay them to do it…

  47. edwardso says:

    @rwyuan: Sometimes people have children, naturally or through medical intervention, for reasons other than love. People buy expensive purebred dogs all the time, some for love others for status etc. Having to pay more to have a child does not mean you will be better parents or love a child more than someone who may have accidentally gotten pregnant

  48. gingerCE says:

    I am interested in in vitro because I have a medical condition that makes it more difficult for me to get pregnant. I plan to switch insurance to a plan through work that says it will cover 90% of infertility treatments (including in vitro but only 2 times with 3 cycles each???) if I go to an in network dr and 70% for out of network. But I noticed from my research most insurance won’t cover in vitro which is probably why couples try everything else before in vitro.

  49. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: In a lot of countries especially poor countries all you really have to do is be able to pay the adoption fee to that country. Once you get back to the states you then do the paperwork here. So in essance you have the child from the begining and I have never heard of somone being denied approval since they already have the child.

  50. Myron says:

    @trollkiller: ????????????????

  51. helcha911 says:

    Being told that you are infertile is like a car accident. You get hit by the infertility truck and then there’s a whole mess to clean up, legal, financial, emotional and psychical. All of a sudden you have a whole boatload of issues to research, explore and pay for.

    So after the doctor diagnosis you as infertile, you are left to make alternate plans, and that gets stressful real quick. There are many unknowns to all the options, many success stories in adoptions and IVF and many horror stories. Then there are all the stories about divorce and suicide. People kill themselves when they find out they are infertile, marriages don’t last because of the stress of it.

    And all the while your doctor is pushing for fertility treatments to solve your problems. Take some pills, wash some sperm, get donor sperm/eggs, etc. The doctors are very optimistic, very encouraging, very supportive.


    Because they make money off of it and fulfill their own sense of accomplishment when an infertile couple gets preggers.

    They don’t mention adoption.

    So in the end it’s a “medical condition” and the person that is helping you through it all is your doctor. He/she has medical solutions for personal profit and gain. Sore throat? Take some penicillin. Infertile? Let’s give you the 61k workup.

    Adoption is a beautiful choice for many people, although it takes some time to get there. There are waits, scam artists, racial issues, interviews, inspections, fees and more fees. All the while you got science telling you, it can be done within your body and to give it a try (financing available to those who qualify).

    I caution those who are quick to judge and give out a 30 word solution to those who are infertile. Many couples will end up adopting, it’ll just take them much more than 30 words to get there.

  52. nardo218 says:

    @BigNutty: Me too. The family you’re raised with is your family, for better or worse. Agre that people who hav to have their own blood child are in it for themselves, and are deeply ignorant about what an adoptive family is really like. Not to be gooey, but if a baby is in your care, you love it, it just happens. If gorillas can adopt kittens, humans can adopt other humans.

  53. nardo218 says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: I don’t think they really do closed adoptions anymore. Adoptive and bio family are supposed to have contact with each other, even as the child grows. I was adopted 26 years ago and all the records are closed, but I’m told this isn’t how it’s done anymore.

  54. trollkiller says:

    @Myron: Sorry did not mean to confuse you. Read the post just above the one you are questioning.

  55. jaya9581 says:

    My husband and I have been going through infertility issues. The choice to adopt or have a child is unique to each family and each situation. For now, when we want an infant, we want to have our own child. Hopefully at some later time we will have the means to adopt an older child – if we do choose to adopt later, we would want an older child rather than an infant.

    My real point in commenting here is to argue the $500 price tag on clomiphine treatments. My old insurance did not cover the drug, which a good doctor will prescribe for no more than 6 months – the full price of the drug was $30/cycle. That’s about $180, not $500.

  56. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    @trollkiller: Explain to me why the health care insurance I pay into should take MY money to spend on your inability to get knocked up? A portion of that $71,000 comes out of MY pocket.

    No, it doesn’t.

    If that’s how your health insurance plan works, I’d suggest you switch ASAP.

  57. trollkiller says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: Really, so my premiums just go to pay for me?

    Reread what I wrote please.

  58. Vegconsumer says:


    While I do not support in vitro for my own personal reasons (others can do it if they want), I certainly wouldn’t consider the fertilized eggs “people”. Neither does the US government or any legitimate science group. An acorn isn’t a tree. That fertilized egg is not a person and it’s inaccurate to call it such.


    @ no one in specific

    Someone mentioned insurance companies paying for this. I wouldn’t have a problem with that if I didn’t read about insurance paying for Viagra but not birth control, emergency birth control, etc. Comprehensive women’s care isn’t available under many insurance plans and that’s seriously messed up.